TIFF 2016 Review: “Bleed for This” (2016) ★★


It’s highly popular to make films based on true stories. But when that true story revolves around the boxing theme, it can bring even more people to the theater than usual. However, the real question is, will that film be able to touch your emotions in a way that you will have to leave the theater sobbing? The story of Vinny Pazienza is truly inspiring. After a serious car incident, he makes a historical comeback despite doctor’s skepticism who promises that he will never be able to box.

Bleed for This tells the true story of boxer Vinny Pazienza. He loses his first fight in the beginning but wins the second one. Getting another title, Vinny enjoys his life hoping to get back to the ring soon. But that dream breaks when he gets into a car accident that not many would’ve survived. Being lucky, Vinny is still able to move after a neck injury that forces him to wear a neck brace for six months. But with the help of his coach, Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart), Vinny starts training slowly to gain enough strength for the fight of his life.

Bleed for This is the kind of film that can’t possibly go wrong. It has an inspiring true story and a final fight that can make any sentimental viewer cry. Somehow, that sentimentalism would not work with Ben Younger’s film. You will certainly be able to connect to the story, but it’s something in the screenplay that misses to hit the bull’s eye, where you as a viewer won’t be able to enjoy it completely.

Maybe it’s Miles Teller who was not ready to play a boxer. But don’t get me wrong – he is young and promising actor but not experienced enough to pull off such a role, like of Vinny Pazienza. Knowing what the boxer had to go through, it looks like only Aaron Eckhart manages to understand his character, as his complete physical transformation allows him to disappear in the skin of Aaron. But that’s not enough to interest the film that fails to deliver the emotional part of the story, which was important to have complete connection with the viewer.

In conclusion, Bleed for This is solidly shot, has some wicked lines, but that’s all what this film can offer. The last scene when Vinny begins his last fight is not strong enough to emphasize Vinny’s experience back then. Other than that, it’s still worthwhile seeing but will be quickly forgotten shortly after.

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